Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Maine - Bethel


Leaving the Arcadia National Park area was rather sad, but heading to the northern end of the White Mountains on July 26, 2018 made it easier. Our stay in Bristol, NH at the beginning of the month had us at the southern end of them.
Bethel Outdoor Adventure and Campground in Bethel, ME is where we parked for the week. It is right on the Androscoggin River, in fact they run tubing and kayaking tours from here. We were in Site 20, a level, gravel pull through with full hook ups. They are Buddy sites so you face your neighbor but the strip of grass was wide enough and angled just right that we weren't right on top of each other. The park is well maintained and very quiet. WiFi and our Verizon signal were good. We paid $46.33 a night with no discount.

There are trails for walking that give you beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, that is when it isn't super cloudy. They have a suspension bridge that takes you across the river to explore an island - just looking at it made Nancy weak in the knees so we did not take advantage of this.

We did take advantage of the Bethel River Walk which comes right past the campground. End to end it is about a mile and a half so perfect for our morning walks. This bridge was much easier for Nancy to cross!

The walkway runs along side an old water park which has a replica of a Covered Bridge. Nancy and Mielikki extended their walk down a side road and came across an old cemetery and a barn that reminded Nancy of her sister Jeanne who loved to paint pictures of old barns.

We did see three real Covered Bridges. The Sunday River Covered Bridge, known locally as the Artist Bridge, crosses as you may have guessed the Sunday River, just north of Bethel. It was built in 1872. The Paddleford truss bridge is 100-feet long and 20-feet wide. It was closed to auto traffic in 1955. There is a path that takes you down to the river, perfect for a side view shot of the bridge.

The Lovejoy Bridge in Andover, ME, was up next. It is also a Paddleford truss bridge, it crosses the Ellis River. Built in 1868, at 70-feet long and 20-feet wide it is the shortest covered bridge in the state. It was reinforced in 1984 and still supports auto traffic.

The last one of the day was the Hemlock Covered Bridge in Fryeburg, ME. It crosses the Old Course Saco River, a remnant of the original Saco River which was bypassed by canal-digging in the early 19th century. The original river twisted so many times that the locals described it as 36-miles of river in 6-miles of land.
Built in 1857 it is the last of seven bridges that used to cross the Saco River. Also, a Paddleford truss bridge, it is 116-feet long and 16-feet wide. Still open to auto traffic it sits in a quiet area of farm land.

In Rumford, ME we found Paul Bunyan and Babe, these two certainly get around the country. They greet people as they come to the Visitor Center which is at the J. Eugene Brown Park that overlooks the Rumford Falls. With a total vertical drop of 176-feet, they are the highest cascade falls east of Niagara.

The diorama commemorates the Anasagunticook Tribe. They lived in nearby Canton and Bethel and camped on this spot to fish for migrating Salmon.
We did a little shopping in Mexco, ME and tried to make a phone call on the Worlds Largest Crank Telephone in Bryant Pond, ME but the receiver was just to big to handle.

Bryant Pond was the last U.S. city to give up Hand Cranked Telephones. The link takes you to a Time Magazine article from 1982.

As you can tell by the Directional Sign we found in Lynchville, ME you can travel to many "countries" from here.

The Mineral and Gem Museum in downtown Bethel is still in the building process but they have two rooms open for viewing. They have beautiful specimens of local gems on display and a small gift shop.

In Gotham, NH we didn't see Batman but we did visit the Train Museum. It is in the old train depot and Reuben Rajala who was holding down the fort that day was very informative. We spent well over an hour talking to him and learning tons about the history of the area.

Each of the "waiting rooms", there were separate ones for men and women, are filled with displays of historic items.

They have a train display set up in one of the old rail cars, which was pretty neat.

In case you are wondering we don't ever want to live someplace that needs snow trains like the one in the upper left picture.

On our last day here we tried to kill ourselves on the Mt. Will Hiking Trail, just north of Bethel. The description we read listed it as a moderate hike - well that person is certainly in better shape than we are!
It is a 3-mile loop trail, with an elevation gain of 1,020-feet.

The trail is very rocky and there was a tree down on one part of the path.

But, the views from the South Cliffs and the North Ledge were worth every step.

As always on a hike we stop to take lots of pictures, of course it's not to rest or anything, we just find interesting things along the path!

We came across a garter snake, he was enjoying a snack so we didn't want to get any closer. The weathered birch bark made us think of a mummy and the small piece in the bottom right looks like a face. These deep blue berries were everywhere.
We have often wondered how many different colored mushrooms there are. Every time we stop for mushrooms we think of our hikes in Asheville with our friend Janet McAfee.

The view from the South Cliffs overlooks farmland in the Androscoggin River Valley. As you approach the cliffs you get little sneak peaks of the view and then the trees open up and it takes your breath away. Well, that is if you have any breath left from climbing to this point.

There are plenty of ledges to sit on to take in the views. We even got to see a rainbow while we were here.

From the North Ledge you get a great view of the river as it winds its way through the farms, and of the mountains in the distance. Just like at the South Cliffs there are plenty of places to stop and rest.

There are informational signs along the trail that tell you about things in the area, and also a mile marker every mile.

The sign at the end says it is 3-miles and approximately 6,900 steps. According to Les's step counter we did 3.7 miles and 10,475 steps. The difference could be from us going off path by mistake and having to climb up a hillside to get back on the trail!

It might also account for some of the 18 flights of stairs we climbed according to Nancy's phone, she already had a mile walk in before we got here, so Les's is a much more accurate count for the hike.
Top row is Les's tracker 
Bottom row is Nancy's tracker
left is when we got there - right is after the hike.

Up next Plainfield, VT --- the last of the 50 states.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Outside living space.
Your awning can only do so much for keeping the sun off the side of your RV. Some ingenious person, who was tired of always sitting in the sun came up with a remedy for that.
Sunscreens are nothing new, people have been using them on patios and porches for a long time and you can get one to attach to the awing of your RV.
You can choose just a simple screen or a full screen room.

The screen usually is attached to the front and has stakes to keep it from blowing in the wind. It can be positioned for the direction the sun is coming from. We have seen a few with side screens as well.

The screen rooms serve a multitude of purposes. They of course give you a shady place to sit, it expands your living space, keeps you out of the bugs and the ones with pull down shades offer privacy and possibly even extra sleeping space for guests. They have either a doorway or a zipper opening like a tent.

We have seen a number of these on our travels and like everything else they come in all shapes and sizes and price ranges. They range roughly from around $400 to $1000.
If we ever stay in one place for more than a few weeks we might look into getting one. We have seen people use them for short stays as they are fairly simple to install but we just are not home long enough to use it.

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